EMR Adoption Barriers: Cost, Chaos and Culture

By: Michael.Young

Electronic medical records (EMR) are seen as an optimistic advancement in efficiency, productivity and workflow throughout the entire healthcare industry. EMRs help make healthcare safer and more cost effective by lowering operating expenses, streamlining documentation and eliminating errors. Despite overwhelming evidence of the benefits of EMRs, there are still physicians and hospitals reluctant to transition into the Age of Information, with as few as 17% of physicians using EMRs today. There are three main barriers that hinder the healthcare industry from EMR adoption and implementation: cost, chaos, and culture.

Implementation costs are a big hurdle to overcome in the current economy, especially for smaller practices. In addition to the price of purchase, a practiceís revenue stream may decrease temporarily due to the slowed productivity associated with physicians learning the new system. It is tempting to focus on the systemís up-front cost, rather than how much revenue it will generate for the bottom line and save the practice in the future. Efficient and properly applied systems will pay for themselves in the first one to two years of operation.

The chaos of choosing a vendor can easily deter an interested physician. There are hundreds of vendors and systems available on the market and trying to decide on one can be overwhelming and frustrating. It is difficult for many physicians to determine which specific EMR system is the best fit for their practice. Another disincentive associated with EMR implementation is the change of operations and training neededfor implementation. It is recommended to invest in a customized system that works according to the physician or facilitiesí specifications, so that a potentially chaotic change is minimal and training is cost effective.

History demonstrates that culture is hesitant to change. Medicine is often referred to as the second oldest profession and since inception, physicians and doctors have used paper records. Furthermore, news of security breaches in electronic patient information encourage skepticism in physicians, wary of privacy concerns and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations. It is important to remember that computer systems are usually very well protected, while filing cabinets, desks or paper charts are physically accessible to anyone.

The future of the healthcare industry relies on technologies like EMRs to efficiently manage practices or facilities to succeed in the Age of Information. However, there are still physicians and hospitals that are reluctant to make the transition. There are three main barriers that are holding the healthcare industry back from EMR adoption and implementation: cost, chaos, and culture. e-MDs offers a host of affordable solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their services with the latest EMR technology. e-MDs is committed to providing operational solutions and delivering the clinical tools needed to succeed in todayís medical field.

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